Waist Trainers – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

As I launched this site a few weeks ago, I asked to see what topics people may be interested in learning about. The topic that caught my attention first was the one that I didn’t know anything about – Waist trainers. So here is what I have learned:

For those who are unfamiliar with them, Waist Trainers or ‘cinchers’ have been made popular by the Kardashians. A few of the sisters, as well as other well known celebrities boast about how they help shape their waist and give them that sought-after hourglass figure.

The short of it, they are pretty much latex corsets that you would typically use while exercising. From the information that I was able to find, they are supposed to increase the heat produced in your midsection and create excess sweat (Livestrong.com). I believe, in the hopes to target that area and make it smaller.  The same article also sites that by doing this, it could help engage your core muscles to ultimately help make them stronger, as well as positively improving your posture.

The other benefit that I was mentioned a few times was that they help with post-baby weight “[they are] intended to reduce water retention of the uterus”(Health.com). However, from the same article, it seems that there is no researched evidence to support that this actually works.

All in all, at first glimpse, it sounds great. Most of us are looking for that smaller waist, and that oh-so-sexy hourglass figure. So why not give this a try? As with any types of products that promote results such as these, there are some dangers that you need to keep in mind.

First of all: Do they actually work? I have never tried using them, so I don’t know first hand of their results. It does seem that they are pretty easy to come by (and after you search for them a bunch you start getting lots of advertisements for them on Facebook). So I can only tell you from what I have read.

Except for the high endorsements that celebrities give them, I can’t seem to find any supportive material which states that they have lasting effects. Best bet – use them as shape wear, under clothing to give yourself that look temporarily.

Are they dangerous? With average use of them, no, not entirely. Can they be? Yes. If used improperly or overused.

The dangers that I have found most commonly reported (mostly from the two articles posted above) is that they can cause discomfort, shortness of breath and heart burn. Most of these are due to the fact that they are restricting the circulation and proper digestion of your food. If you experience any of these it is most likely that it is too tight and you should loosen them or stop using them all together

Other, more serious issues can occur, particularly if you’re wearing them for too long (Livestrong.com) and they are too tight. In extreme cases, your body can become too reliant on the support that the cincher gives the body, and can atrophy the abdominal muscles, which not only gives you the reverse affect you are looking for, but can open you up to other problems such as back and stability issues. Other extreme cases can also result in the displacement of organs, which can reduce their functionality – leading to a number of different health issues.

In summary: From what I could find, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of supported, researched information about the use of them (I could also be looking in the wrong places – It’s been a while since I’ve researched). Most of the information that I had read was to use caution and common sense.

My Advice:

  • Proper Diet and Exercise is always going to be your best option
  • Save your money and invest in a personal trainer, health coach or fitness class
  • Be weary of quick fix products endorsed by celebrities
  • Consult with your doctor
  • If you are going to buy one and use it, buy one that fits properly
  • If you find yourself short of breath, or having issues with acid reflux, stop using it.
  • If you buy one, use it for only short period of time, do not keep it on for long periods.
  • Combine it with a healthy diet and strength training regime, using it on it’s own will probably not get you the results that you are looking for.

So, In short: Will I be getting one to use? Probably not. Should you? That is up to you – just make sure that you have as much information as possible and follow the guidelines properly.

Any questions? Concerns? Comments? Please share!

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